The Ainsley Chester saddle that I’m now using on Zelda is the one I bought in the parking lot of a CVS from a woman who drove up in a white van (see Another Saddle for my Tackroom). This brand/model was very popular among eventers about 35 years ago. The woman who sold it to me said it had belonged to her
room mate’s father and that it had been sitting in a closet for a long time. Probably 20 years!
The saddle is in good shape for its age although the panels were quite firm. My saddle fitter (who has been around long enough to work on them when they were trendy) said they often came slightly over stuffed from the factory and this one hadn’t been touched since then (there were no flocking slits).
The “wool” that came out was obviously a mix between real wool and a synthetic fiber and it was so compressed that it almost looked felted. The new wool that went in is soft and fluffy and left the panels feeling very cushy.
Of course, the final say on comfort is up to Zelda. So far, she seems very pleased with her “new” saddle. I’ve had two buck-free rides now and she’s starting to use her back better. She has a long back and it’s easy for her to get hollow. I’m guessing that the new saddle is making it easier for her to lift her back.